Vendor Name: Mobile Education Tools
Vendor Contact: Mobile Education Tools contact page
Name of Product: Storybuilder
Price: $5.99 for iPod Touch (with camera) and $7.99 for the iPad
Age Range: elementary
Before telling you what my children and I thought about this app I’m going to tell you a little bit about it and some of it’s features first, so that you can better understand where I’m coming from when I tell you my thoughts. The Mobile Education products were born out of a need of a father to give his special needs daughter a way for her to learn and communicate. To quote from their website: ” We exist to fill the large gap that exists between the availability and cost of commercial special needs software and the needs of everyday parents.” When it comes to the Storybuilder app it works to improve paragraph formation, improve integration of ideas, and improve higher level abstractions by inference.
I’m going to begin by saying I do not have a special needs child so my review will be coming from the perspective that I allowed my children to play with the app in a fun, freestyle, educational way versus how someone who does have a special needs child would use this app. It was very easy to install on my iPod and add all three children’s name to the account so they could each use it based on their own level. The first level asks four questions about the picture in which each question will relate to something in the pictures. Level two asks seven question and makes the child infer what is going on before or after the even in the picture. While level three allows the child to make up their own story on their own.
The other settings are color code reinforcement and question text reinforcement, both of which the parent can control depending on the needs or age of their child. Mine preferred to make up their own stories so even my 5 year old preferred level 3 as he found the color coding to be confusing and he hasn’t learned to read just yet. The parent can choose on, off or intermittent and in the color code this will either have the question text highlighted in red, in off mode the text background will be same color as the picture and in intermittent the text will only be highlighted when the question is being read. The question text reinforcement works in basically the same way as the color code does.
Once the child is ready to play they will press the play button and the question will be read or displayed, the picture displayed along with the buttons for record, repeat question, play answer and next question. Once all the questions are answered in full sentences the child can then play their story back and even email it to family and friends, if the parent is okay with that. The story can also be paused and resumed. It was very easy to email the stories my children made to my email and listen to them once I installed the Quicktime player on my computer – a wonderful idea if the child has grandparents or other relatives who live far away but still want to share in the child’s accomplishments.
As I said I let my 10, 7 and 5 year old play with it more than actually using it as a part of our schooling however it was a hit, and I can see them continuing to use it and they enjoy being able to email me their stories once they are completed. Since my 5 year old isn’t writing this is a great way for him to tell a story on his own or with prompting and get it down so to speak. He did become frustrated with the questions being read but with help from me and his sisters we cut down on the frustration level. Even I enjoyed it and made up a few of my own stories, using the children’s accounts. Overall, I think this could be an assets for those children who need some help in writing and forming ideas into a story or who just enjoy telling stories and want to play around. You can read what other parents thought about this and Rainbow Sentences by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.